Apr 9, 2014

‘Shroud Encounter’ project visits local school and Newman Center



By Julie Beaulieu and Leslie Perreault
(Photo courtesy of Cathedral High School)

The 14-foot long, linen cloth, known as the Shroud of Turin, has been in Italy for more than four centuries and bears the faint front and back image of a 5 foot, 10 inch, bearded, crucified man. Millions believe it is the actual burial shroud of Jesus Christ.

On Monday, March 10, 250 students, faculty and staff at Cathedral High School (CHS) in Wilbraham explored the mystery of the shroud with international expert Russ Breault, president of the Shroud of Turin Education Project. (Breault is pictured above, third from left, with CHS students Anthony Blad, Anthony Passerini and Nadine Uwase.)

Having 34 years of experience studying the shroud, along with having appeared on the History Channel, the Discovery Channel and “Good Morning America,” Breault, whose father is a graduate of CHS, said that his mission is “to advance the knowledge of the shroud to a new generation.”

He presented evidence from many scientific studies in order to aid students in examining the authenticity of the cloth. One of the many scientific pieces of information was pollen evidence which proves the linen fibers came from within 50 miles of Jerusalem during the time Jesus lived.

Students found the presentation enlightening, said senior Tu Pham. “He provided well supported argument for how and why a person should believe it is the depiction of Jesus,” Pham said.

Later that evening, Breault gave a full presentation, called “Shroud Encounter,” at the Newman Catholic Center at the University of Massachusetts (UMass) in Amherst.

                                (Photo by Julie Beaulieu)

“In 1978, a team of almost 40 American scientists went to Turin,” he explained during his presentation. “They had access to it for five days... They arrived in Turin with over 10 tons of equipment and literally, around the clock, they were doing all kinds of testing: spectroscopy, x-radiography, infrared thermography, photo microscopy.

“And they went on later to publish 24 separate, peer-reviewed, journal articles,” said Breault.

The Newman Center presentation included a life-size museum-quality replica of the shroud, pictured at right.

Father Gary Dailey, director of the Newman Catholic Center, organized the March 10 event, which is part of a year-long lecture series.

“I think that most Catholics and Christians know very little about the Shroud of Turin. It's only what they hear and something that they've seen on TV,” Father Dailey said. “I think that those who come to a presentation like this really leave with a deeper faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and in the fact that this, in all probability, is the authentic burial cloth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

A video version of this story will be featured on the April 12 edition of the Springfield Diocese’s weekly newsmagazine, “Real to Reel,” which airs Saturday evenings at 7 on WWLP-22NEWS.